Library Service Maintained in 2013
If the City Council passes the Library Board's budget as proposed, all library branches will be able to maintain the current level of service in 2013 and we are very grateful that our customers will continue to have access to the services they depend on.
For several years, the library budget and how to maintain service to the public have been popular subjects of this newsletter. This year is no different, and it's important to us to keep you informed about the library's situation.
So, what's the story? In a nutshell, here are the facts.
• The library's allocation from the City's general fund has remained flat (0% increase) for three years.
• The continuous flat budget results in a deficit that grows each year.
• State law allows libraries in WA state to use carryover funds from one year to the next.
• By instituting a hiring freeze, holding down the cost of employee compensation, cutting back purchases of new materials, and trimming nearly all line items, we were able to create savings to balance the 2013 budget. ALL of that savings will be used to keep libraries open in 2013.
• If the city's allocation to the library remains the same for 2014, an even greater deficit will arise, but our savings will have already been depleted.
• The Library Board is working to find options for sustainable funding to secure libraries for the long term and does not intend to cut service in 2013.
That's the short story. Library Director Pat Partovi presented a longer version to the City Council last month. Her presentation focused on the fact that, by depleting our savings to cover the budget deficit, we are able to keep library branches open in 2013. This has led to some active discussion by the Council. Council Member Waldref aptly summarized the discussion in her blog (which you can read here) when she said, "...By 2014, tough decisions will have to be made regarding both revenues and expenses...and a [library] branch or two will again be in danger of closing. How much will is out there to continue funding current levels or service...or will we accept closing branches? What about increasing levels of library service?" These are all valid discussion points. The Council members need, and want, to hear from the public. That way, the very people who use Spokane's libraries become part of the discussion about their future. Council Member Waldref said, "I'm committed to having conversations with our citizens and Council and Mayor to create options for sustainable funding in the short term. This will require leadership and willingness from citizens to participate at a higher level in the support of libraries." These conversations are important, and we are pleased that our Library Board and City Council are exploring options for longer term funding stability. We'll keep you posted as more ideas surface in the discussion. Thank you for your support of the library.
Holiday Giving Ideas from the Library
We ran this article last December but the ideas are so good that we thought it was worth repeating. Good ideas don't grow old!
Used books – Not only is it
affordable, but it's a great way to employ green strategies in your
gift-giving. When you "Re-Use" a book, you're doing good for your
community, and the revenue raised from used book sales helps support the
library. The Friends of the Library book store, BuY the Book (in the
lobby of the Downtown Library) has a great selection, great bargains and
friendly volunteers who staff the store. Stop by – you just might find
the perfect gift. And most items in the store are only $1 each!
Tote bags - Another gift idea from the Friends. These sturdy bags are available
at all library locations. You could tuck in a used book you find at the
Friends' store or a library card application if (gasp!) the recipient is
not a library user.
Donation in someone's honor – Make a donation to the Library Foundation in someone's honor. We'll
send them a note letting them know you did so and both you and the recipient will feel great about supporting lifelong learning in our community. If you want your donation to sponsor a book then this is super-easy to do now with our new Check In System. Check In lists books that are already on order and lets you sponsor them and add a bookplate if you wish.
A night out – Thinking ahead, you could buy a special someone a ticket or two to the Library Foundation's blast of a party, "You Can't Do That in the Library."
2013 marks the seventh year of this rule-breaking fiesta in the library
where there's food, beer, wine, great music and dancing with Wylie and the Wild West. A not-to-be-missed event! Mark your calendar for April 20 and contact Foundation Director, Sandy Kernerman at 444-5318 for tickets.
Remember that you also support your library by shopping locally.
When you do, a portion of the sales tax comes back to support the
library. You also support the library by coming in and using it. So stop
by and say hello, check out some books, music and movies, warm up in
our spaces, use our computers and keep the libraries strong.
Library Says Goodbye to Successful Discover Tech Exhibit
Throughout October and November, we had the honor of being
the first library in the nation to showcase the Discover Tech exhibit. We hope
you've enjoyed it as much as we have. Just as we’d hoped, kids (and adults with
some “kid” in them) flocked to the Downtown Library to experiment with the
various gadgets that comprised the exhibit, learning about energy, motion, and
more in the process. We definitely saw more people than usual in the library;
our “gate counts” went up noticeably, and we’re confident Discover Tech played
a big role in drawing people here. It was STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math) education in action—plus a whole lot of fun for good
We're a bit sad to see Discover Tech go—but now it’s time to
pack up the exhibit and send it to the next of seven more libraries that will hopefully
enjoy it as much as Spokane did. We're very happy we had the chance to bring it to you, and even happier
that so many came to see it.
pictured above: one of the many class visits to the Discover Tech exhibit
First Night @ the Library
The Library is excited to once again host events for First Night, Spokane’s big New Year’s Eve event. This December 31, you can enjoy theater, music and art at the library. The SCC Players, a theatrical troupe from Spokane Community College will perform at 7 pm, 8 pm and 9pm. After that the volume will rise as we near midnight with Spokane Taiko, that dynamic group of drummers with a unique, Japanese style of drumming, performs at 10 and 11 pm. Adjacent to the performances the gallery will host an exhibit of eye-opening images from Afghanistan by photojournalist Casey Johnson.
You do need to have a First Night admission button to attend but it is well worth the admission price!
Dec. 24, 25
ALL BRANCHES will be CLOSED on December 24 and 25 for Christmas Eve and Christmas.
East Side, Hillyard and Indian Trail will be closed on December 26. Since these locations are not normally open on Mondays they will observe the Christmas Eve holiday on December 26
Shadle and South Hill will close at 6 pm on New Year's Eve instead of their normal Monday closing time of 8 pm.
ALL BRANCHES will be CLOSED on January 1 for New Year's Day.
Join us for The Phantom of the Opera on December 12 at 5:30 at the Downtown Library. Free, of course!
It's time for our annual celebration of that
great American icon – the Teddy Bear! Join us for a tribute to Teddy,
and bring your favorite bear along for the fun. Check our kids' programs page for dates and times.
Did you know that a portion of Spokane Public Library's funding
comes from local, City of Spokane sales tax revenue?! When you shop
inside the city limits you are supporting your library!
Have you read any of the top ten books that teens all over the U.S. have chosen? There are some really good ones!
Our WorkSource lab is open for those needing assistance with job
searches, resume preparation and other employment-related work.
Fun library stuff gets posted on our page. Stop by.